Bhutia to take on Sikkim coach's mantle

Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia will be seen in a new role during the Santosh Trophy later this month. Bhaichung has decided to coach his home state, Sikkim.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 16.01.18
  •  
Bhaichung Bhutia

New Delhi: Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia will be seen in a new role during the Santosh Trophy later this month. Bhaichung has decided to coach his home state, Sikkim.

Clubbed in the East Zone, Sikkim will have hosts Bihar and Orissa in their group in Patna. Defending champions Bengal are also in the East Zone with Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Two top teams from each group will qualify for the final rounds.

"Yes, I have decided to coach Sikkim this time," the former India captain told The Telegraph from Goa.

"This year, I have been active in the Sikkim Football Association and played a role in organising the local league. Never before we had such a big league and it was a huge success," said Bhaichung, who led India for record 11 years in a row between 2000 and 2011.

In the Sikkim league, Bhaichung's team, United Sikkim, emerged the champions and 15 of their players are in the coaching camp for the Santosh Trophy, which began a week ago.

"I am in Goa and one my assistants is looking after the camp. Tomorrow I am going back to Sikkim. If we win the group, then I, in all probability, will continue to coach Sikkim in the final round also."

"This Sikkim team has only local players. There is no outsider. They are very talented and it is a joy to coach them," he added.

Bhaichung had never coached any team for a full season but said he has enough experience by now.

"When United Sikkim was in the I-League, I coached them for a few matches. Perhaps I was the only person in the world, who was the owner, coach and a player for the same team," said Bhaichung with a laugh.

The former star, however, made it clear that he had no immediate plan to get into coaching on a long term basis.

"I have done the basic coaching license and time permitted, I would like to go for higher license courses. But if I do it, I would do it for my own sake. May be, I will be able to contribute something to football," said Bhaichung.